Starting a business and creating a brand is an exciting experience – but also one that involves a steep learning curve. What’s more, not every new business venture has the luxury of a big branding and marketing budget. If you’re a fresh-faced entrepreneur about to embark on this journey, there are some areas outside of your expertise that you may need to take care of yourself – at least to start off with. This could well include your logo and strapline.

Over time the meaning and reach of logos has changed, so it’s certainly important to familiarize yourself with some of the newest guides and principles before you dive in. Below are our top tips for creating a basic, professional logo and tagline for your new business – the DIY way.

DIY logo design

Why do it yourself?

Not all of us know how to use fancy image software like Photoshop, nor have the budget required to buy such programs. For those of us who aren’t graphic designers, we must find a quicker, easier and cheaper way to create an awesome, professional-looking logo.

It’s worth stating that professional graphic designers have their place, especially if you’re looking for something one-of-a-kind. But new business or website owners don’t always have the money to pay a graphic designer – at least, not until they’re up and running. So while you shouldn’t rule out getting a professional involved, it would be in your best interests to consider whether you can create something simple, memorable and appropriate in the interim.

First, you should know some of the basic principles of good logo design.

Basic logo design principles

The purpose of your logo is to accurately represent and capture what your business is all about in one simple image. Done right and with careful consideration, it can help your customers remember you. Here are some good rules of thumb:

  • Simple – the logos that stand out to us most are often based on a very simple premise. Complicated logos with lots of different elements are distracting and won’t make a good first impression on your audience
  • – your logo needs to make a good first impression, but perhaps more importantly, a lasting one. Bright colors and bold graphics are always good choices.
  • – this is especially important because you need to ensure that your logo can be used for a wide range of elements, whether that’s online, in print, or even on clothing labels. For this reason, choosing a logo that works at any size is key, as well as one that will work in both monochrome  and color
  • – when designing a logo, it’s important to consider your audience. In creating your logo you are telling a story: and that story needs to resonate with your customers when they find you. Clarity is essential
  • – stay away from ‘trendy’ fonts and logo styles. Chances are that when the trend inevitably passes, your logo will quickly start to look outdated. It should go without saying that Comic Sans is a “no,” so make sure to avoid it.

Using Logo Generators

There is a lot of choice available when it comes to online logo generators. If you are working with a small budget, lack digital design skills, need something quickly, and can make do with something basic (but still professional), then a logo generator is probably just what you need. Here are three to consider:

Tailor brands– one of the best quality logo generators out there. This clever generator is based on an algorithm that will design the logo for you based on your design preferences. At the outset it offers you several styles to choose from, to get a sense of what you like and don’t like. It then generates a series of logos, incorporating your business name (and optional strapline) with a symbol, initial or abstract shape

Shopify – if you’re building an online store, then Shopify is one of the best e-commerce storefront creators out there. It also has a logo maker tool that’s completely free to use. While the site doesn’t offer a wide variety of logo options, it’s a fast and user-friendly option that you can use when you’re in a hurry to go live

Withoomph – this ‘traditional’ logo generator is very quick and gives you a bit more variety in terms of graphics. Another great feature is its complementary color tool, which you can use to ensure that the color combinations you choose work well together

Writing a Strapline

Defining your Message

So you have your route to designing a logo, but what about a strapline? Not all logos include one, but every brand should have one. A good strapline can boost brand equity and inspire loyalty – both important for a new business.

Most straplines are short and sweet – maybe five words or so. It’s can’t be that hard, right? Wrong. Developing a strapline with real substance – one that communicates the essence of your brand in just a few words – is often harder than it sounds. It must say a lot, while in reality saying very little. Here are the three most common types of strapline:

  • Descriptive – straight to the point, designed to showcase your services swiftly and succinctly, e.g. Innocent’s ‘Little tasty drinks’
  • Aspirational – indicates the company’s values with language that focuses on lifestyle and excitement, e.g. Nike’s ‘Just do it’
  • Combination – a mixture of the above, informing the customer but with an insightful twist, e.g. Subway’s ‘Eat fresh’

Elements of a Successful Strapline

Luckily, all the information you need to create a strapline for your business is already available to you. Nobody knows your business better than you  do. All you need to do is condense your business down to its essence – the exact service or ethos that defines what you are. A lot of the principles of designing a logo also apply to writing a strapline – you need to think about simplicity, clarity, and being memorable. Here are some top tips for writing your strapline:

  • Make sure it tells your customers something about a) your services or b) your ethos
  • Keep it simple, natural-sounding and easy to grasp – avoid being too ‘clever’
  • Use rhyme and alliteration to make it memorable (as long as it still sounds natural)
  • Add some useful information: avoid straplines that ‘sound good’ but mean nothing
  • Identify the key aspect of your business that customers find most appealing
  • Avoid making promises that could reflect badly on you should you break them

Need a little inspiration? Here are some of the best business slogans and taglines real companies are using  today.

Whether you’re starting a new business, creating an online store, or setting yourself up to work and earn money from home, having a simple, effective logo and strapline is a basic requirement that will help you to forge a memorable brand. Hopefully this article has taught you something – why not let us know how these tips worked for you by sharing your new logo and strapline with us in the comments? We look forward to seeing them.

Victoria Greene is a branding specialist and freelance writer. She spends most of her time planning and implementing digital marketing strategies for a wide range of clients. She also makes time for sharing her favorite tips and advice online.